Handling Negative Business Reviews

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article, Handling Negative Business Reviews

It happens to all of us at some point. No matter how hard you work and no matter how much you try to do your best, a customer eventually has a negative experience. Unfortunately, when a customer has a negative experience no matter the fault, you can get hit with a negative review. While it surely stings, it’s not the end of the world. Luckily, you can actually take steps towards turning the negative review into a positive experience for both your business and the customer if you handle the situation the right way. Below, we will be going over some tips for handling negative reviews with the help of Cormac Reynolds from VelSEOity.

1. Don’t React

One of the main things that you want to do is avoid having a knee jerk reaction to the customer who is upset. By responding with negativity, you can guarantee that you will encounter even more negativity which can spiral out of control. Avoid reacting negatively and slapping back to the negative review for the entire world to see. While you want to respond swiftly, you need to do so in a calm and collected manner. If necessary, vent your frustration offline by doing some exercise or by conducting deep breathing exercises. It’s important to understand that a negative review can be a good opportunity to showcase your customer service.

2. Respond Quickly

As mentioned, you don’t want to delay when you are dealing with a negative review. Take quick action and don’t let the negative review fester. Ignoring a negative review is one of the worst things you can do. You want to deal with the negative review as soon as you calm down and can approach the situation with a calm mind. You should take steps towards acknowledging the customer’s pain points and let them know that you are there to remedy any situation they feel they’ve been wronged in.

3. Don’t Make Any Excuses

Even if you feel as though you did nothing wrong in the situation, it is important to avoid making excuses. You want to accept responsibility no matter what because “the customer is always right.” By showing the customer you understand they had a bad experience and you want to make it right, you will be able to showcase that you care about your customers for the world to see.

4. Make It Better

Once you have established communication, you will want to take steps towards actively resolving the problem. When you showcase that you are able and willing to take responsibility for the situation and that you are willing and able to make it right, you have a good chance of convincing the customer that it was a one-time mistake that didn’t warrant such a harsh review.] A lot of times, you will even be able to convince them to change their review and showcase the steps you took to remedy the situation which can turn it into a positive for your business.

5. Ask For Positive Reviews

When you are dealing with customers that just want to be angry or even trolls that haven’t frequented your business, you simply have to showcase your motivation for resolving the problem. Another good way to minimize the negative impact a bad review can have on your business is by asking for positive reviews from satisfied customers – this helps you pre-empt such issues and helps protect your reputation. This will help you drown out of the negative feedback with positive feedback. A lot of customers are ready and willing to help out their favorite businesses by writing positive reviews. All you have to do is ask! It is very important to encourage feedback across all review channels for various reasons:

72 percent of customers look towards online reviews when they are attempting to make purchasing decisions. There are search engines like Google who even include online reviews when they are ranking query results. Therefore, the more positive feedback you are able to accumulate, the higher you will likely get your rankings. The more positive feedback you are able to get, the better your chances of converting a prospective customer into an actual customer since they will be much more inclined to frequent your business due to having a high customer satisfaction rating.

Becoming a Reliable Provider: 4 Proven Strategies for Building Trust in Your Industry of Choice

StrategyDriven Managing Your Business Article |Building Trust|Becoming a Reliable Provider: 4 Proven Strategies for Building Trust in Your Industry of ChoiceMost people fail to realize just how difficult starting a business and making it successful can be. If a business owner does not focus on providing their customers with top-notch service, keeping them loyal will be extremely difficult. For most consumers, finding businesses that they can trust is imperative.

Establishing trust with consumers and clients can be difficult. Developing a strategy that revolves around providing potential customers with social proof of how well a business has performed for others in the past is a good idea. With this social proof, consumers can get a feel for how reputable a particular company is. The following are some of the things a business owner can do to build more trust with potential customers.

1. A High Level of Transparency

Shrouding what a business does in mystery can backfire in spectacular fashion. Current and potential customers want to know exactly what a business does and how it can benefit them. For instance, if a particular business provides payroll services to business, they need to show potential customers how safe and secure their services are. The best way to do this is by providing consumers with a SOC 1 Report.

This report will detail the internal controls and policies a business has in place to protect the sensitive information they deal with. With this high level of transparency, a business owner should have no problem attracting new clients. Going the extra mile to provide proof of how trustworthy a business it can pay off in the long run.

2. Provide Consumers With Social Proof

Modern consumers spend a lot of time online researching businesses before using them. In most cases, these consumers are looking for things like online reviews from former or current customers of a particular business. As a business owner, a person needs to work on making it easy to find social proof of how well their company performs.

This is why putting positive customer reviews on the homepage of a business website is a good idea. By making it easy for consumers to find this information, a business owner will have no problem increasing the number of valuable sales leads they attract. Asking satisfied customers for these positive reviews may be a bit intimidating at first, but it will be easier as time goes by.

3. Being Accessible is Important

Making it easy for consumers to reach out for information about the products/services a business offers is also important when attempting to establish trust. This is why making it easy for consumers to contact business is crucial. Investing in things like website chatbots is a wise idea. These AI-infused tools allow a business owner to address the concerns a consumer has any time of day. With the help of IT professionals, using these tools will be much easier.

4. An Online Presence is a Must

Over 90 percent of Internet users never go past the first page of Google when researching businesses in their area. Getting a business website on the first page of Google will require a lot of marketing-savvy and hard work. Creating an online presence for a business is no easy task. This is why hiring an experienced marketing agency to lend a hand is important. The higher a business website ranks on Google, the more trustworthy they will appear to consumers.

The Power of Consumer Trust

Building trust with modern consumers will help a business grow and prosper. Ignoring the need for a great online reputation and excellent customer service will lead to problems finding and obtaining new clients.

5 Simple Steps for Building a Good Reputation Online

StrategyDriven Online Marketing and Website Development Article, 5 Simple Steps for Building a Good Reputation Online

Having a good reputation online is key to making your business grow and flourish. But knowing where to start can feel overwhelming.

Keep reading to learn the five steps to building and managing your company’s reputation online.

1. Create Your Online Business Card

Think of your webpage as a business card. You want to have a catchy domain name that is unambiguous and short. Focus on the main page, paying attention to the design, and make sure it doesn’t get overcrowded with too much information as this could lose your readers.

You’ll want to make sure your layout is visually interesting and the text is clear with graphics and pictures that match. Any detailed information should go into separate sections.

You’ll want to make sure your contact and about buttons are easy to locate. Highlight your companies greatest achievements in the about section. Have the address of your headquarters, e-mail, telephone number, directions, and map in your contact section.

You should also include a section where clients can put reviews and opinions, which has been shown to boost sales. There are even online reputation management companies that can help you out.

2. A Blog Is Key for a Good Reputation Online

Your website should also have a blog filled with inspiration yet professional content. Blogs are great places to share your company’s values and products while building the image that your business is an expert in your field.

You’ll want to put a lot of effort into your blog, making sure you don’t have any grammatical errors or confusing language. Take your posts up a notch with relevant charts, infographics, and pictures.

3. Be Active on Social Media

Social media helps prospective clients find your business. Having a strong social media presence will help your company’s reputation.

You can inform your clients about new products or articles on your webpage. Make sure your social media posts are all brief, attention-grabbing, and to the point.

4. Reply to Every Request or Opinion

You need to show your potential and current clients that you have an accessible business that treats people respectfully, which means you’ll want to respond to every review or message you receive. If you see a negative comment, respond politely with understanding and avoiding conflict.

Take advantage of any positive comments by proudly sharing them on your social media platforms. This is proof of the quality of your products and or services.

5. Share Your Achievements and Awards

People will trust companies that are award-winning and experienced. Clients are more likely to work with a company that has been recognized over a company that has not. So make sure all your glowing reviews, accomplishments, and awards are easy to see on your website.

Fix Your Online Reputation Today

Now that you know the five steps to build and maintain a good reputation online, start making these changes today. A website that is to the point and easy to find and navigate will help grow your company for years to come.
For more resources of growing your business, check out the rest of our blog.

Two Things That Can Tarnish Your Online Business

StrategyDriven Entrepreneurship Article
There are two fundamental aspects of digital commerce that have the potential to tarnish the reputation of your success; the loading speed of your website and the credibility of your email account. Indeed, there are many essential ingredients every business needs but perhaps there are none more important in the sphere of online business than the load speed of your website and the amount of emails that get through to your list of subscribers.

First off, let’s take a look at your email account.

Email marketing is one of the most essential ways to communicate with customers today, indeed it is one of the most essential aspects of digital marketing, yet it can be notoriously difficult as often commercial emails end up in spam folders.

Today, there are over a hundred different SPAM blacklists in operation but with the use of certain tools and strategies such as using email list verification, this risk can be mitigated in order to ensure the majority of emails do get through to their intended recipients.

Now, let’s look at how the loading speed of your website.

It’s well known that there’s a direct correlation between the loading time of your website and bounce rate, that is to say the number of people that visit your site but leave straight away; just like in the offline retail world, where a customer walks into a shop then walks straight out.

In fact, to better explain the term ‘bounce rate’ it can help to picture a busy shopping centre – where people are walking around browsing or searching for a particular solution. In the shopping centre, signposts help point people in the right direction, whereas in the online world, Google is the authority.

In the offline retail world, people naturally browse a few different stores based on the attractiveness of their retail display amongst other factors such as brand awareness and perceived relevance to their needs.

Now, as the store owner once they come through the door, it’s your job to engage them with special offers, product demonstrations, engaging retail displays, and relevant ideas to solve a problem they face.

In essence, your job as a retailer is to engage consumers so they spend as much time in your retail environment as possible – for there’s a direct correlation between the amount of time spent in a store and the amount of money spent. This is why large retail brands invest so much in visual merchandising.

Now, in the digital world, if you have high traffic but low engagement this is known as having a high bounce rate.

The reason a high bounce rate will cripple your online business success is because it’s akin to people walking in your store, and then straight back out, without buying anything. Whilst a high bounce rate can be attributed to many factors such as a lack of engaging content, or a lack of perceived relevance, it has been found that 40% of potential customers will leave your website if the site takes more than 3 seconds to load.

This is particularly pertinent in our increasingly impatient digital world and therefore we’re going to take a brief look at three ways to optimise the loading speed of your website.

1. Hosting

Load speed can be somewhat contingent on your hosting provider, and therefore, it’s something you should seriously consider before committing to a provider. If you have a high volume of traffic to your website then you might want to consider upgrading to private hosting, as this can offer a much speedier service in terms of load speed.

2. Optimize Images

Many website owners use large image files and then scale them down automatically using CSS, to be displayed on the user’s device. This might not seem like a problem, but the challenge is the browser has to load the full size image, then scale it down, which is a very inefficient way to process photos – and this can seriously affect load speed.

3. Enable Browser Caching

When you regularly visit a website some of the elements of that web page are stored on your hard drive, in a temporary storage folder, known as a cache. As a website owner, if you enable browser caching it means you are able to temporarily store data on the user’s computer which means they will have a much faster loading experience.

Three Keys to a Good Online Reputation

Headlines today are filled with cell phone videos of bad behavior, verbal attacks in the twitter-verse, and disturbing incidents of cyberbullying. In our everyday lives, disgruntled customers or employees tarnish reputations of local businesses or past employers and jobs are lost or never offered because of inappropriate social media sharing. Business owners who want to have better control of their reputation online should follow these three key pieces of advice:

How to Protect (Or Destroy) Your Reputation Online1. Build your reputational firewall

Build your online firewall. If your business could be hijacked by negative reviews and online attacks, then you need to ensure that you regularly publish your positive news and build a legacy of positive internet results. It’s tougher for negative information to take center stage in the future if there’s already a lot of positive information anchoring top search results.

Stake your claim to your name. This is really basic stuff but it merits repeating. In a crisis, it is important for your customers and the public to be able to hear your news as directly as possible from the source. Your company should have a Twitter account, a Facebook page, and a LinkedIn page if for no other reason than it verifies your company’s identity and authenticates your news.

Address negative info. If there’s negative information about your company posted online, you have to react in some way. Review sites generally enable companies to respond to comments, both positive and negative. Take advantage of this option. Damaging content can be removed in some cases, but simply allowing negative information to remain unchecked is typically not a good strategy.

2. Get a handle on online review sites

Review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor, Angie’s List and Glassdoor are growing in both popularity and authority with search engines. The more companies participate on the sites, the bigger the sites become and authority grows. The impact is building. As one review site executive said to me: “The genie is out of the bottle.” Review sites are here, they are dominating search results, and they can’t be ignored.

Claim or create your company page on the main review sites. Your company may not yet have a listing on a site like Yelp, but any customer or interested party could create one without your knowledge and certainly without your consent. Business owners should look at the main review sites and either claim their page if one has already been created or create their own listing – this will give you a small level of control.

Build out your review site listings. Across the board, executives from review sites recommend completing profiles and adding information to business listings. Up-to-date photos, videos and descriptions increase page views as well as interest from prospective customers or employees. Plain listings without images look stale as customers on review sites are typically interested in getting current information.

Engagement. Likely the biggest trend in online reviews centers on engagement. Interaction between businesses and their customers helps build the overall sense of community, and executives from review sites universally advocate for responding to both positive and negative reviews.

Don’t try to fix “crazy.” When speaking with one executive who has had tremendous success with Yelp, he mentioned that they have some very simple rules. His company will bend over backwards for his customers, but “we don’t do crazy.” Sometimes customers have outrageous expectations, and every business owner has dealt with clients who may not be “all there in the head.”

3. In case of emergency, know your options

When confronted with negative online content that hinders your business or damages your reputation, the best advice is to remain calm and make a sound assessment. While the first reaction may be to blast away at the hate blog, defamatory post, negative news article, or nasty review, we have found that it makes more sense to slow down and develop a strategy before confronting the source.

Negotiate removal. Most websites are run by legitimate businesses that have no interest in publishing false, tasteless or potentially defamatory content. Of course, some sites are run by neurotic bloggers, but the vast majority have sensible human beings at the controls. If you are dealing with negative web postings or negative articles posted on a corporate site or corporate message board, it may be possible to negotiate removal.

Suppress, push-down or bury. When you research online reputation management companies, you quickly learn that they offer a distinct service known in the industry as “suppression.” They will create new, benign web content with the hopes of pushing down or suppressing negative search results. This tactic can be very effective, but it isn’t always the best solution, or the most economical

The idea is that you flood the Internet with positive content about you or your company and work to push down, bury, or “suppress,” the negative content. Information is not removed from search results but rather pushed farther down the search result pages to a point where fewer people will see it.

Remove it using the Covert Ops of reputation management. One of the Internet’s big secrets is that digital is not necessarily forever. The common belief is that once something is posted online, it will stay there forever. Many people endure a feeling of helplessness at this thought, but options exist. Content can actually be removed from search results and sometimes entirely from cyberspace. There are folks who can make things disappear from search results. It’s a fairly exclusive thing and exactly how it works I can’t explain, but we have been able to get stories and posts completely removed from search results These tactics are not the same thing as suppression, which pushes negative information further down the search results. I’m talking about either removing or hiding negative content.

More information about protecting your online reputation is available in How to Protect (Or Destroy) Your Reputation Online (Career Press, October 2016).

About the Author

John P. DavidFor more than 25 years, John P. David has counseled businesses and executives on strategic communications and marketing issues. He has developed a specialty helping clients facing online attacks because, sadly, anyone can publish negative information online, seemingly without consequences. His strategic communications firm, David PR Group, counsels clients in the areas of marketing, reputation management, and public relations. He frequently writes about communications and strategy on The Huffington Post. Follow him at @JohnPDavid.